According to the Washington Post, state officials are scheduled to end a program that helped pay residents’ bills since it was discovered that gross negligence of state officials allowed the water system in the city to be dangerously contaminated with lead. The state has spent some $41 million in credits to help offset local utility bills since 2014, with residents getting a 65 percent credit each month on their water use.
Anna Heaton, a spokesperson for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, said that the credits will soon end though “because the city’s water meets all federal water quality standards under the Lead and Copper Rule and Safe Drinking Water Act, the same standards as other cities.”
Heaton said that the threshold is in accordance with an agreement reached by Snyder, the Flint government and state lawmakers who allocated the funds for the credit. However, Heaton said that the state will continue to provide water filters and filter-replacement cartridges “to assure residents that the water is safe for consumption even as lead service-line replacement is underway.”
Needless to say, residents are not pleased.
“They want to make it look like they’ve resolved this thing, that it’s fixed,” Tim Monahan, a carpenter who managed to survive Legionnaires’ disease in the midst of the water contamination, told the Post. “It’s been three years, and we still can’t drink the water.”
The Post reports that with residents now expected to pay the full balance of their water bills, it is also expected that the number of delinquent accounts will rise. What occurs then will become a vicious circle, since residents with delinquent accounts will not be eligible to have their aging pipes replaced.